1 strong hand of Grammar: ‘Determiners’

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1 strong hand of Grammar: ‘Determiners’


Determiners include words like the, an this, some, either, my, or whose.


  • Most of the time, they come in the beginning of a noun phrase, before adjectives.
  • In some way, they determine a noun phrase.
  • Most of them are “mutually exclusive”. A noun phrase cannot contain more than one of the determiners.
  • They are structured to go in a very particular order if a noun phrase has more than one of them.

Let us understand this with noun phrases,

  • The cat
  • Those cars
  • Some sea salt
  • Either side of the branch
  • Seven hummingbirds
  • Your youngest brother
  • Which tempo


Demonstrative Determiners

Demonstrative Determiners include words like this, that, these, those pointing to something that is close or at a distance. In a noun phrase, there can be only one determiner. Speaking of Demonstrative determiners, the distance could be in terms of space (next to the radio, 10 meters from the radio, or 10000km from the radio). The distance could also be in terms of time like yesterday, now, last week, next month, and so on.

In terms of singularity, we will use the word ‘this’ to point out things that are near.

If things are far away, we will use the word ‘that’.

In terms of plural, we will use the word ‘these’ to point out things that are nearby.

If things are far, we will use the word ‘those’ to point out things that are far.


  1. I like this dress.
  2. You could use these books.
  3. I have to drive a long way this morning.
  4. We don’t talk these days.
  5. Did you see that big elephant?
  6. Can you make out what these are?
  7. Do you remember that girl we saw in class today?
  8. Those mornings near the beach were awesome.

Possessive Determiners

The second type is used in order to show who is possessing or owning something.

‘my, your, his, her, its, our, their’ are the possessive types. We do not have to confuse these topics with the possessive pronoun, know that both of the topics are different. Possessive determiners come at the start of a noun phrase.


  1. This is my pen.
  2. His car is black in color.
  3. Her parents are not in London.
  4. The cat ate its food.
  5. We have purchased our car.
  6. The principal thanked all their staff.
  7. Your boots are lovely.
  8. This is your pen.
  9. Hurry up! You’re not reaching on time!
  10. You’re alright?

Remember that there will be no apostrophe while using the word ‘its’ in the possessive type of determiner. An apostrophe can be used to combine the words like ‘it is’ or ‘it has’.

Let us understand with examples:

‘It is thundering.’ – This sentence can also be written as ‘It’s thundering’

‘It is duly noted.’ – This sentence can also be written as ‘It’s duly noted.’

‘It is going to rain.‘ – This sentence can also be written as ‘It’s going to rain.’

Interrogative Determiners

Interrogative Determiners are nothing but sentences that include words like what, which, and whose asking a question. Interrogative determiners are used at the start of a noun phrase. This is why they come after adjectives.


  1. Whose car did you drive?
  2. Whose chocolates are these?
  3. What made you do that?
  4. What is it that you are thinking?
  5. Which book do you want to read?
  6. Which bike do you like to ride?

The word ‘whose’ tells us that something belongs to someone.

For example: They didn’t know whose house it was.

The word ‘what’ asks for information or details that specify something.

For example: What time did you leave?

The word ‘which’ is used to ask for information or details that specify one or more people or things coming from a definite set.

For example: Which car would you drive?

Let us understand with some examples:

  1. Whose book was stolen?
  2. Whose house was abandoned?
  3. What made you say things like that?
  4. Nobody knows what he was going through.
  5. Everybody asked him which food was the best.
  6. Which hotels have you been to?

Remember that the word ‘whose’ has the power to function as an interrogative as well as a possessive determiner.

Also remember that the word ‘whose’ and ‘who’s’ are totally different from each other, both of them have different meanings. 

For example:

  1. I wonder whose house that is.
  2. Kevin who’s not here has a girlfriend. 
Quiz } Determiners